Sunday, August 24, 2014

Volunteer shows learning isn’t just for girls

Denise Baer is not only a leader, she’s an amazing help at Journey Weekends. She’s always willing to give a little effort so girls have a great experience.

Girl Scouting girls the chance to discover their leadership abilities. But when Denise became a co-leader, she benefitted from learning new skills, too.
“My daughter is not the only one gaining new leadership skills,” she explains.

“I’ve learned new leadership skills like organizing events. Even camping this summer with my co-leader at Camp Singing Hills taught me new things.  I learned camping skills right alongside the girls like straining dishwater, building a fire, outdoor cooking or just knowing what to look for in nature. If not for Girl Scouts, I’d never experience any of that."

Denise confides she has one selfish reason to be involved. "I love the joy of seeing my daughter enjoy Girl Scouts. I get to see first-hand how much fun she’s having and her friends are having – and I get to have fun right along with them.”

As many volunteer experiences start, Denise became a leader when her daughter entered Kindergarten and became a Girl Scout Daisy. This year, her daughter Helayna enters her second year as a Junior Girl Scout, with lots of experiences under her belt thanks to her mom and a network of amazing volunteers in Allegheny Valley.

The Power of Teamwork

Co-leader of Junior Troop 50091 in Cheswick worked with GSWPA staff and other volunteers to bring a Journey Weekend to Camp Redwing for six Junior troops in her area. When all was said and done, 26 girls and adults spent a weekend last spring learning, participating in more than 30 activities based on the Girl Scout Amuse Journey. By the end of the weekend, the girls completed the entire Journey except the Take Action Project.

“We took a lot out of the Leader’s Guide that goes along with each Journey,” she explained. Each leader involved took part in running a number of sessions, planning meals, etc.

“As leaders, we need to show our girls how we deal with things in life. It helps to work as a team and roll with the punches. Look at Girl Scouting as a network. Ask and learn from others – don’t just recreate the wheel. We found a great resource online from a service unit in Maryland that had a nice workshop guide. So we also used that with the Leader Guide."

By working as a team, the girls (and adults!) had a great weekend and had a better understanding of stereotypes because of the Journey. The girls also planned their own awards ceremony at the end of the weekend.

Now, moving into their second year as Juniors, the Denise’s girls are set to start working on their Bronze Award.

“We’ll start the year by participating in the MagNut Program,” she explains. “ From there, it’s up to the girls to decide where we’ll go.”

All Girl Scouts have one thing in common. They need volunteers like you. Learn more about making a difference through Girl Scouts today.